SK Hynix is best known as a supplier of both DRAM and NAND flash memory chips, and you may even own a kit of RAM, graphics card, or storage product that uses its stuff. For the most part, however, SK Hynix has been content to stay on the supplier side of the equation. That's what makes its new Gold S31 SSD line at least mildly interesting.
These are 2.5-inch SATA models, and they arrive at a time when the market is largely shifting towards sleeker and faster M.2 NVMe drives. SK Hynix has plans of releasing those as well, just not yet.
What's also somewhat unique about the new Gold S31 drives is that they're entirely built in-house.
"All key components in Gold S31, from NAND flash and built-in controller to DRAM and firmware, were designed and produced by SK Hynix. The in-house components are built for robust performance and reliability," SK Hynix says.
SK Hynix is not the only manufacturer to do this—so do Intel, Samsung, and Toshiba, depending on the model. However, the vast majority of SSD manufacturers can't make the same claim.
For the time being, SK Hynix is keeping certain details under lock and key, such as the specific type of NAND flash memory and the exact controller. All we know are the capacities and speed ratings—1TB, 500GB, and 250GB, each of which is rated to deliver up to 560MB/s of sequential read performance and up to 525MB/s of sequential write performance.
SK Hynix is taking a guarded approach to its re-entry into the consumer SSD market. The drives are only available on Amazon in the US for now, though the company says it will expand availability to other North American and European markets next year.
Here's how pricing breaks down:
- SK Hynix Gold S31 1TB—$123.99, Amazon
- SK Hynix Gold S31 500GB—$77.99, Amazon
- SK Hynix Gold S31 250GB—$49.99, Amazon
At present, each of the three listing has a 5 percent coupon available, which when clicked will knock a few bucks off.
Pricing is okay, thought not spectacular—before coupon, you're looking at between around $0.12 to $0.20 per gigabyte. There are cheaper options at every capacity. Crucial's MX500, for example, runs $107.99 for 1TB. Among SATA options, we consider that to be the best SSD for gaming. It's tough to really compare, though, until we know what kind of NAND flash memory chips SK Hynix is using.
In any event, the new SSDs are available now and backed by a 5-year warranty.